Challenge, on substantive grounds, of the still unratified credentials of the parliamentary delegation of the Russian Federation
| Provisional version
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 28 January 2021 (7th Sitting) (see Doc. 15216, report of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations
and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring
Committee), rapporteur: Mr Stefan Schennach; and Doc. 15218, opinion of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities
and Institutional Affairs, rapporteur: Ms Ingjerd Schou). Text adopted by the Assembly on
28 January 2021 (7th Sitting).
2 The Assembly deplores a number of exacerbating negative tendencies
with regard to democracy, the rule of law and human rights in the
Russian Federation which are having an impact on the fulfilment
of commitments and obligations of the Russian Federation.
3 The Assembly expresses its concern over a number of recent
changes introduced to the Constitution of the Russian Federation
and the procedure for adoption of the amendments.
4 It has particular concerns in relation to a new Constitutional
provision which empowers the Constitutional Court of the Russian
Federation to declare a judgment of the European Court of Human
Rights non-executable. This contradicts the obligations of the Russian
Federation under the European Convention on Human Rights. It should
also be seen against the backdrop of an amendment to Article 83
of the Constitution which allows the Council of Federation (Upper
Chamber of the Parliament) to dismiss the judges of the Constitutional
Court at the request of the President thus making the Constitutional
Court vulnerable to political pressure.
5 Furthermore, the newly amended provisions of the Constitution
on the protection of territorial integrity and the prohibition of
alienation of territories, together with the implementing legislation
adopted in 2020, outlaw and make criminally liable any steps aimed
at the cessation of territory to another country. This thus makes
a solution for the Crimea issue in line with international law,
as repeatedly demanded by the Assembly, virtually impossible.
6 The crackdown on civil society, extra-parliamentary opposition
and critical journalists as well as restrictions imposed by the
Russian authorities on basic freedoms, including freedom of assembly,
freedom of expression and freedom of association, raise utmost concern.
In this context, the Assembly deplores the Prosecutor General’s
decision to put the Council of Europe School of Political Studies
on the list of so called “undesirable organisations” under the pretext
7 The Assembly expresses its concern at the recent adoption
by the State Duma of a series of restrictive amendments to legislation
with regard to the activities of NGOs and the media, the organisation
and conduct of public events, the protection of State and State
security, as well as the laws limiting the human rights of LGBTI
persons and the ongoing legislative process concerning further changes
impacting basic freedoms.
8 Furthermore, the Assembly is extremely worried by the poisoning
of Mr Alexei Navalny, the lack of any meaningful investigation by
the Russian authorities and the lack of co-operation with the Organisation
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It is also extremely worried
by the arrest of Mr Navalny upon his arrival in Moscow and his subsequent
detention, as well as arrests and use of violence and disproportionate
force against peaceful demonstrators supporting him.
9 At the same time, the Assembly highlights its continuous commitment
to dialogue as a means of reaching lasting solutions, as illustrated
by the aforementioned resolutions. The Assembly constitutes the
most important pan-European platform where political dialogue on
the Russian Federation’s obligations under the Statute of the Council
of Europe (ETS No. 1) can take place, with the participation of
all those concerned, and where the Russian delegation to the Assembly
can be held accountable on the basis of the Council of Europe’s values
10 It has to be emphasised that by virtue of the obligation of
States and international organisations under international law not
to recognise the consequences of the illegal annexation of a territory,
the ratification of the credentials of the Russian delegation by
the Assembly would in no way constitute recognition, even implicit,
of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
11 Consequently, the Assembly resolves to ratify the credentials
of the members of the Russian delegation.
On this occasion, the Assembly calls on the Russian Federation
to fulfil all recommendations included in Resolution 1990 (2014)
, and moreover to:
concerns and fulfil recommendations formulated by the European Commission
for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in its Opinion No.
981(2020) on the draft amendments to the Constitution related to
the execution in the Russian Federation of decisions by the European
Court of Human Rights, and in its forthcoming opinion on remaining
amendments and procedure of their adoption, which is expected to
be delivered in March 2021;
12.2 refrain from the violation of basic freedoms and human
rights, in particular freedom of expression, assembly and association,
and to release Mr Navalny as well as peaceful demonstrators and
supporters unduly detained, not only on the day of his arrival,
but also in the run up to the planned demonstrations on 23 January
2021 and during the demonstrations themselves;
12.3 abstain from adopting new laws putting further restrictions
on activities of civil society, journalists and opposition politicians,
and to review the laws already in force, in particular the package
of laws adopted on 25 December 2020, as well as the law on foreign
agents and undesirable organisations, with a view to bringing them
in line with Council of Europe standards. In doing this the Russian
Federation should use Council of Europe legal expertise;
12.4 remove from the list of undesirable organisations, the
Council of Europe School of Political Studies.
13 The Assembly expects that its clear offer of a meaningful
dialogue will be taken up so as to lead to tangible and concrete
results. It invites its Monitoring Committee to submit a report
on the honouring of obligations and commitments by the Russian Federation
at its earliest convenience.